No one – especially Ron Hornaday Jr. – will be surprised if Hornaday rolls into Friday’s Nashville 200 Camping World Truck Series race with a target on his tailgate.
After the race, Sauter ran over to Hornaday’s truck and tongue-lashed him for about a minute, his anger level clearly visible from the grandstands. Skinner also had a few unkind words for Hornaday.
“I think we’ll be fine as long as Johnny Sauter don’t pay me back too bad,” Hornaday said of the Nashville race, the fourth on the Truck schedule. “Johnny and I had a little conversation at the end of the race. I got into him and spun him out, and he was pretty upset about it.
“He’s one of those drivers that will pay you back some day, and hopefully it’s the same way that I got him at Martinsville or something like that where nobody gets hurt.”
Racing at a bigger, faster track this weekend might dampen some of the fender-banging, but the Truck series tends to produce a substantial amount of tight, sometimes over-the-edge competition.
“I like to race hard, just like everybody else,” Hornaday said. “I think Johnny and myself – we all have got basically the same driving style. We really run hard and like to race hard.
“I’m sure that Johnny will pay me back. When, I don’t know. But we’ll go out and race hard and do what we have to do.”
Hornaday, the defending series champion, survived the bumpup with Sauter (and the aftermath) and jumped to 12th in Camping World points after a sour start to the season.
“I didn’t go out there (last week) to say I needed a second spot,” Hornaday said. “I needed points and to get a good top five, and I got it done. That’s all I can tell you (about the Sauter wreck). It’s not that I was in a corner and knocked him out of the way and he hit the fence.”
Qualifying for Friday night’s (8 p.m. EDT) race is scheduled at 5 p.m. Friday.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEEDtv.com and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.